Poem: My ‘Crime’ by Adebisi Afonja
I’ve been meaning to ask You a question
Only I didn’t know the opportunity would come so soon
I’ve always wondered if it was a crime to be a Nigerian
Is it a crime to be born and bred in the North?
Is it a crime to be a Fulani boy?
Is it a crime to be an Hausa girl?
Why did You make my birth place Nigeria?
They even have a name for me-Almajiri
Some call me Aboki
But I don’t want to be called an Almajiri
I don’t want to be called Aboki
I don’t even want to be called a Northerner
I just want to be a Nigerian
Was that too much to ask?
I did not choose my country
I did not even choose my leaders
And now I’ve paid the ultimate price for being a Northerner-
A ‘crime’ I had no control over
And now that I’m here with You
I’m glad I’ll get to rest
Yes, I’ll get to rest!
Now that I’m here
I know I’ll be free-
Free from fear of the gunmen-known and unknown
They said the known gunmen were on our side
But now we know better…
They said they are our leaders
And day after day
Month after month
Year after year
They vowed to protect us
They vowedto look after us
You be The Judge; have they kept their vows?
What about my dreams?
I thought I’d get education and earn a honest living
I thought I’d be a business tycoon when I grewup
I thought I’d raise my own children
I thought I’d lift my parents out of poverty
By the way, what about my parents?
Are they here too?
Will I see them again?
This Place is so different
I don’t want to leave here again
But if I ever have to leave
Please God, let me choose where I want to go…
Will You answer my question now?
Oh! I’ve asked more than one…
Is that why You’re smiling?
So, Dad are You going to give me some answers?
To the loving memories of the #Baga185
I’m also on Twitter @adebisiafonja